Gregory XII, Pope
GREGORY XII, POPE
Pontificate: Nov. 30, 1406 to July 4, 1415; b. Angelo Correr, at Venice, c. 1325; d. Recanati, Italy, Oct. 18, 1417. During his pontificate the Western Schism was finally ended. Little is known about his early life and career. In 1380 he became bishop of Castello and in 1390 was named Latin patriarch of Constantinople. Becoming associated with Pope innocent vii, he was made apostolic secretary, then legate of Ancona, and, in 1405, cardinal. Each cardinal who met in Rome in 1406 to elect a successor to Innocent VII promised that if elected he would resign the papal see providing the schismatic anti-pope in avignon would do likewise: the dual resignations would free both Avignon and Roman cardinals to elect a new pontiff and thereby end the paralyzing western schism in the Church. Gregory XII was elected on Nov. 30, 1406, and accordingly on December 12 he informed the antipope at Avignon, benedict xiii, of his election and asked for a meeting at which the resignations could be arranged. Benedict agreed to meet with Gregory, but difficulties arose over the location of the conference. Benedict was in fact unwilling to resign despite his announced intention of discussing the matter, and Gregory, although sincerely interested in doing so at the outset, gradually lost interest in the project. Angered at the failure of the two popes to resolve their differences and end the schism, cardinals from both parties met at a "council" at pisa in 1409 and proceeded to declare both popes deposed and to elect a third, who took the name alexander v. The Pisan pope died in the following year and was succeeded by antipope john xxiii. On Dec. 12, 1413, at the insistence of Emperor sigismund, John XXIII called a council to convene at constance. When the council met (Nov. 5, 1414), John XXIII was deposed (May 29, 1415) and Gregory XII was recognized as the lawful pope. Gregory in turn reconvoked the council and then resigned the papal office (July 4, 1415), paving the way for the eventual election of a new pope, martin v, by the assembled cardinals. The Avignon pontiff, Benedict XIII, still refused to recognize the proceedings at Constance, but the Council declared him guilty of heresy and deprived him of all rights to the papacy (July 1417), whereupon he fled to Spain and remained there until his death. Gregory XII was made cardinal bishop of Porto and legate of the March of Ancona for life.
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[j. m. muldoon]